Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Rebranded as Curmudgeon's Better Half.

Added by TCgoalie on 07-10-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 124
Photo of axeman9182
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft pour at the Rattle n Hum, served in an 12oz tall thin glass.

Kaiser Curmudgeon occupies somewhere between burnt orange and mahogany in the color spectrum. There's a bit of bone tinted foam sitting on top of the beer, but once it fades it leaves no evidence that it was there. The nose is sugar syrupy sweet, a pretty even split between caramel and maple syrup. The flavor adds a biscuity malt presence to the mix, but those caramel and maple notes still carry the beer for the most part. Despite all that, the beer stops short of coming across as cloying. The body has as rich and full a body as I'd expect from a beer that for all intents and purposes is 100% malt drive. The carbonation is enough to keep the beer from turning into something more suited to topping pancakes or waffles. It's a credit to Founder's skill and creativity that they can brew two beers (this and Black Biscuit) that are in the same style yet incredibly distinct and delicious.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An insanely good beer that shoves a tremendous amount of maple syrup and bourbon chracter into the foreground.

Pouring a hazy light-rust color, the beer seemingly looks like maple syrup. Except with the dainty creme of foam that adorns the surface, this cordial carries a high visual weight. Lacing is foregone for brandyish legging. Glass coating alcohol sugars relpace retention. And, the more beer-like carbonation is surpressed by the shere weight of the beverage. It begins to take on honey bourbon appearances.

Aromas of heavy toffee, maple, rich caramel, vibrant oak, vanilla, butterscotch, and peanut brittle and with appricot and cherry-like esters all adorn the rim. Highly sweet scents but with the backing of bourbony alcohols, tea-like herbal hops, and candied wood. The aromas aren't loaded with variatals, but showcase four or five scents in high proportions.

Succulent and savory flavors of the sweeter maple-toffee-caramel carry the beer from initial sip through its long and memorable finish. Along the way, the candied upstart begins to pick up the bourbon vanilla and fresh char notes at mid palate and they continue to develop into alcohol heat, dryness, and confectioner's powdery note late. Cherry esters accompany the bourbon flavor and gives a glimpse of complexity, expecially in finish. Again, not overly complex except for the shere 'bigness' of the beer. It's maple, bourbon, and cherry through and through.

Syrupy sweet from begining 'til end, the beer proudly displays its dessert-like character with a weight that carries early creaminess as a slight reprieve from the sugary liquid, but that's short-lived. The full brunt of the beer weighs heavy on the tongue and coats the mouth with a brandy-like cling that proves much more succulent and savory than refreshing or drinkable. It's another annimal.

In many ways, this beer resembles the Bourbon Barrel Ales made by both the Lexington Brewing Company and by Schlafly. Except the base beer here is much more characterful, substantial, and balanced. The bourbon barrel aging complements the beer well but without complete dominance.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the founders event at rattle n,hum, had one of these while waiting on the bar to tap CBS. Pretty popping at 4pm. Beer showed a nice amber color in a flute glass. Smells and tasted like old cumudge crossed with backwoods. Nice sweet oaky bourbon. Very drinkable, a bit boozy. Glad to try it, not something I will drink all the time. Once the stouts were tapped, I set this brew to the side and ordered some black biscuit and CBS. After trying those and hanging out, I was shocked to taste this beer again. After warming for about 20 minutes, it was a different beer...10x more tasty and the booze was not in your face at all. It was a sweet candy-like caramel beer. Really delicious...gotta recommend drinking this a bit warmer for maximum taste and enjoyment.

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Photo of Rymar9
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draft at common market in Charlotte..celebrating American craft beer week!

A- pours a dark auburn color. A sort of smooth clean muddy water with a touch of white lacing around the head.

S- smells of sweet bourbon. Some faint brown sugar and toffee but bourbon is the dominant smell.

T- wow what a great tasting beer! Taste is plenty of bourbon with some sweet maple and vanilla notes. A slight smooth butterscotch is in there somewhere.

M- pretty smooth, goes down pretty easy although the alcohol is very present and this is definitely a slow sipper.

O- overall this is a fantastic beer and I'm glad I got to try it. If you get the chance, don't pass it up!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brewery the first week of April 2011. What an awesome beer!

A: Brown-crimson to muddy amber in color with an ok bubbly ting of white head and some lacing.

S: Nice sweet bourbon smells abound with a raisin and dark fruit backdrop. The bourbon, though it comes through nicely, is tempered by the maple sweetness. Toffee, butterscotch also come through though the aroma on the whole is not overly strong even when warm.

T: The taste is a different story, An amazing sweet and dark bourbon taste with plum, prune, brown sugar, and butterscotch as the sugary malt base. Very balanced attack with just a bit of heat warning of the higher ABV. Such succulent buttery toffee notes that go great with the barrel, easily putting this high in the barrel aged Old Ale category.

M: Medium to full bodied with lots of sugar in front and some bitters. A little heat but not too much.

Overall the beer is very good, though it is heavy and hard to get through after a while (drinkability?). Would seek this out if it gets bottled.

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Photo of gdrydenc
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Sunset in Allston. Reviewed from very fresh notes

A - Dark brandy color with a thin disc of whitish head. Good looking beer.

S - Smells of sweet (candied?) fruits, lots of bourbon, a bit of maple and vanilla. The smell doesn't leap out of the glass like I'd hoped it would.

T - It's rare that I find a beer that the taste of which overwhelms the smell. This is an example off such a beer. The smell was a tad muted, but the taste is not at all. Just like the smell in content, though! Bourbon up front, but the finish is out of this world, vanilla, a bit of heat, maple. Awesome.

M - Lightly carbonated, a bit syrupy. This works for the beer, though. It holds the flavor in your mouth for a long time.

Overall, I love everything that I've had by Founders and this merely reaffirms that. Awesome brew, but it is certainly a sipper and a one-per-nighter.

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Photo of n2185
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark orange-amber with a finger of off-white head. The head fades into a thin layer with some decent lacing.

S: Maple up front followed by vanilla, caramel, oak, and bourbon. Smells amazing.

T: Everything the nosed promised and then some. Sweet maple at first that mixes well with vanilla, caramel, and oak notes from the barrel. The bourbon follows behind, complimenting the other flavors very well. Finishes sweet with a light, but not overpowering, alcohol burn.

M: Thick, creamy body with medium carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet but avoids being cloyingly so.

O: Overall, a fantastic beer. Definitely the best old ale I've had. The maple and bourbon flavors of the barrel blend so well with the base beer.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft. On tap at the brewery. Poured into a large snifter glass hazed dark brownish orange color with a very minimal head of tan that collars around the glass. Vanilla, caramel, citrus, bourbon, and booze fill out the nose, very rich aroma! Medium/heavy mothfeel. Carmel, maple, vanilla flavors abound in this one. The maple flavor sticks out along wih the bourbon. Some dark fruit and banana notes as well. A nice sipper but very rich. Decadent.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Founders.

Cloudy copper colored body, fairly opaque. No head but a light white ring around the snifter. Very spotty lacing.

Aroma is pleasantly balanced. Smooth bourbon and brown sugar upfront. Maple and breast malt just behind. The aroma is much smoother than the standard Curmudgeon. Dark fruits are muted but an additional vanilla and cinnamon aroma take it's place.

Maple bourbon flavor rolls out of the snifter. Very smooth bourbon flavor complimented by the up front sweetness. Very bready on the midpalate. Maple sticky bun may be a fair comparison. Vanilla and caramel flavors round out on the back.

Full bodied lower carbonation. Texture is smooth and chewy. Sweet flavor digs deep into the palate making for a long finish.

Excellent beer. The barrel choice compliments the base beer very well. While strong it is not overly boozy. Flavors are layered extremely well. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light copper color with w decent off white head. The smell is of bourbon with hints of maple vanilla oak and toffee. The flavor is pretty similar to the smell with the bourbon and toffee being slightly stronger than the maple and vanilla notes. The mouthfeel is smooth and full. Overall this is a great beer, I would love to drink it sitting by a fire on a cold winter day but unless founders decides to bottle it I don't see that happening.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap into taster glass, review from notes

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange with a light crop of white head on top. Retains for a bit with some spotty lacing and film while drinking.

Strong smack of syrupy maple with bourbon and earthy wood. Brown sugar and caramel with some dark fruit as well. Very rich overall but highly inviting.

Boozy warmth right up front with earthy bourbon followed by the soothing effects of maple syrup. Burnt brown sugar and caramel add to the sweetness, followed by a plethora of dark fruits including raisins and dates. Roasted malts with more boozy warmth towards the finish, which is slightly hot.

Full bodied, decent carbonation, syrupy, sticky, and smooth on the tongue. I'm usually turned off by sweeter beers, but Founders discovered a way to turn the base brew into a truly remarkable creation with maple barrels. Delicious, sticky, and boozy in all the right ways.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/11/11 notes. Had this at NOTB up in Bston, MA.

a - Pours a

s - Smells of caramel, oak, bourbon, maple, roasted malts, and toffee.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, maple syrup, oak, vanilla, sugar, bourbon, and toasted malts. Really like the maple and vanilla coming out in the taste.

m - Medium to full body more on the full side, and low carbonation. Thick and smooth.

d - I thought this was an interesting old ale that I really enjoyed. I loved the taste and maple barrels the used; would love to have this one again sometime.

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Photo of beerhan
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Founders the night before the KBS party.

This is one nice looking beer. Thick, dark amber almost brown color with a thin head.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, and molasses with a little bit of oak. I personally enjoyed smelling this one quite a bit. Fantastic.

Tastes very oaky. The bourbon and the vanilla just make this beer incredible. It is very intense and is a sipper. The bourbon shines through over all other tastes. It is a dessert beer but a true treat.

Mouthfeel is kind of awkward to review for this beer because I can compare it more to sipping on a fine whiskey than a beer because it is not very carbonated but very alcohol forward in intensity.

This may be tough to take more than one down but that one will last you a while. Every sip is to be savored and the alcohol will sink in. This is delicious, try it if possible.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A dark amber colored beer that lets some light through. Lighter than I was expecting from an old ale. Off-white head that vanished instantly.

S - Lot of caramel and sweetness, with a hefty dose of whisky. Bit of vanilla and barrel here.

T - Pretty hot and sweet, this one is sweet enough that I can tell it's going to be difficult to get down after a while. A bit of fruity sweetness as well.

M - Sugary, fuller bodied, moderate carbonation.

D - Kind of hard for me to drink. It's pretty good, but it gets so sweet and hot after a while and becomes kind of hard to drink. Booze is not hidden well enough, although I think that it is a combination with the sweetness and flavors that a lot of people will go for.

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Photo of JDizzle
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Founders(best place ever!!)

It pours a dark amber with hints of copper and a off white head that disappeared quickly. It looks like an old ale should.

The smell of this beer is unreal. I must have looked crazy as I kept smelling it over and over again like I was getting high off of it. It's smells sweet with a lot of Bourbon, malt, oak, and vanilla.

The taste is very barrel and bourbon forward with a nice malt backbone. Not too sweet and the alcohol is in there, but perfect-not too much. A only got a little bit of maple.

The drinkability of this beer is almost a 5, due to the high ABV, I have to rate it a 4.5 This is my favorite Founders beer!!! Well Done guys!!

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Photo of jampics2
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big, huge thanks to CoreyRoz and to Mr. John Host for bringing this amazing beer to Cleveland for a wonderful event to raise money for charity. The kegs were on at Deagan's next door, but a few growlers made their way to Rozi's for the event. I got to try a few sample pours alongside Black Biscuit then finally got a proper 12oz snifter when the kegs were officially tapped at Deagan's.

This beer is amber with some splashes of caramel and copper throughout. The transparency surprised me, but the overall look is clean and attractive. The barrel has killed any retention, but a touch of lace remains. The appearance is good, but the rest of the experience is epic.

The smell of this beer is what dreams are made of. It's full of whisky notes and just a touch of underlying caramelized malt. I get huge oak, vanilla, toasted coconut, maple syrup and a good deal of booziness. Here's the cool thing - this isn't abrasive at all. Instead, the booze and delicate notes all come together like a nice whisky. Wow!

The first sip is a bit rough, but then we're in smooth sailing mode from here on in. There is more barrel on display here than just about any other Founders beer I've had except maybe 2009 Nemesis. After the initial shock of the explosion of flavor and unexpected sweetness from the first sip, I realize this "beer" is really more of a spirit. Barrel notes of vanilla, oak and coconut piggyback on a huge, sweet caramel malt base. Some maple and bourbon play with toffee and a touch of brown sugar. This is lovely, unique and so well executed. Just a touch short of perfection!

The beer is just a touch on the sticky/syrupy side and the heft does impact the drinkability. But this is a work of art in letting the booze and barrel work together instead of covering up with yeast, hops, roast or adjuncts. I will be permanantly seeking this out from this day forward.

Old Ale is fast becoming a favorite style of mine. To me, it's amazing the breadth of beers that qualify for this style. That being said, I'm all about this angle - huge caramel malts, preferably barrel aged, with booze and balance. I was shocked to find myself preferring this to Black Biscuit, though, as that was one of my highest scoring beers ever. Just goes to show there may be something even more special right around the bend. Thanks to Founders, Deagan's and of course, the incomperable Rozi's for such a wonderful treat!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.69/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this at the Founders taproom.

A: pours a brilliant clear golden red, creamy white head, some lacing

S: the nose is outstanding! Maple and vanilla dominate and sweet malts hang out in the background. Great balance, booze is pretty well hidden.

T: vanilla and sweet malts dominate the palate, delicate notes of maple come next with notes of oak at the back, incredible balance

MF: smooth, creamy, low carbonation

D: this beer is awesome! Like all the other maple bourbon beers that Founders makes, this one is a special treat.

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Photo of grub
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

sampled on tap at hopcat as part of the 3rd annual extreme beer fest, jan 21/2011.

pours slightly hazy deep dark orange, neither red nor brown, with just a thin ring of very fine bubbles. no lace.

aroma is great. sweet caramel. vanilla and bourbon. light citrus. hints of alcohol. biscuit and cracker. multi-grain bread. nice spicy and slightly earthy hops.

taste is good. bourbon and vanilla. light alcohol. bit of maple. light citrus. big caramel character. bit of toffee. whole wheat bread and cracker. light biscuit. medium-low bitterness level. lots of barrel, almost overshadowing the beer to the point where there is more barrel than beer.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. medium-low carbonation level.

drinkability is great. it's pretty barrel-heavy but still balanced pretty well otherwise. nice depth and complexity.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter on tap at Founders

This beer pour an orangish yellow color with a white head which in my experience is odd for an old ale, but it's not too bad. The smell is of peat smoked scotch. The aromatic made me want to drop some ice cubes in it and have it on the rocks it smelled so much like scotch whiskey. The taste however was decidedly different from the aroma. The taste was that of liquefied butterscotch. There was really no other way to describe the taste of this beer aside from that. It was rather smooth on the palate, but it was strong with booze to the point where it was a tad difficult to consume. Not bad, but not my favorite from them.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8 oz in a snifter at the brewery, a cold tuesday afternoon. A fine day, old friends, family, a beer trip for goodness.

A silky caramel color, the look of liquid amber. A light head, quickly gone to reveal the perfect clarity. I can stare into time.

Nose is hot, booze and spice, cherries. The first sip starts with candy, hot sugars and fruit, a lingering chocolate and a vanilla. This is nice, hot but nice.

I could sit an drink this all day, and gladly would if not the damnable desire to tick more.

Founders- Can we be friends?

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Photo of LanceW
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance was very dark and was served in a goblet. The light brown head was thick and filled of tight small bubble. The smell gave away that this beer was going to be thick and heavy. The taste was great and definitely a beer that should be sipped and not pounded. I mouth feel was strong and lingered. I was able to take a sip every 5-10 minutes and was complete content with that. I would recommend this to someone that like heavy stout or will to try something that will knock them on the floor. One of the best beers I have had in the year of 2010

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Photo of jrallen34
3.36/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a darker orange, crisp, clear. A light tan head, only a little head and lacing...A strong aroma, lots of alcohol and burnt sugar, reminds me of a strong unbalanced dipa, too harsh for me...The taste is thankfully sweeter with some caramel, but still too hot for my taste. A very bitter alcoholic finish.

Not a huge fan of this.

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
2.97/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed on tap at the mothership in Grand Rapids.

Pours amber with ruby highlights and minimal head.

The smell is worth lingering over: bourbon, vanilla and caramel hit you all at once. Love the smell, but it foreshadows the booziness to come...

The beer tastes like a bourbon cocktail: strong bourbon and vanilla characteristics overlay a thickly sweet maple flavor all preceding a very boozy finish that's a bit of a mess. Don't get me wrong: I love bourbon, and I usually look at barrels the way I view bacon and deep frying (it makes everything better). What I'm disappointed by is that, unlike most of Founders' stuff, the flavors from the barrel aging are very blunt and don't let the characteristics of the base beer through. IMHO, barrel aging should accentuate a beer rather than overwhelm it. Here, I don't believe the barrel has done Curmudgeon any favors; the parent beer is almost unrecognizable. I'd say that aging might help this out over time, but since it's not bottled, that option is off the table for now. A rare miss from a very strong brewery.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tawny amber hues. Looks like a carbonated bourbon! Smells like whiskey and more whiskey with a hint of hops. Tastes like vanilla heaven! Spices, wood, malty goodness overwhelms the tongue. Balanced but overpowering at the same time. My only complaint is that its too syrupy... just like old curmudgeon

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Photo of MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap during the Nemesis 2010 release. Served in a snifter.

A - Near-transparent reddish orange body. Served with minimal foam that settles to a thin ring and leaves behind touches of haze and lace.

S - Whiskey, green apple alcohol, oak, and burnt sugars. It's somewhat harsh and boozy, but not out of character for an old ale.

T - Tons of maple character, but with a tannic whiskey finish. Much sweeter than the nose, with caramel and toffee malt flavors. Aftertaste is all maple. Very nice, and nowhere near as hot as the nose.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, sticky, with a lightly tannic finish. Some warmth after a while.

D - This goes down pretty slowly. I found 8oz to be more than enough. Seemed boozier than Looking Glass, even though this is purportedly lower in ABV.

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Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 124 ratings.
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